kitchen table math, the sequel: Barry's Rifle Range on grit

Monday, December 29, 2014

Barry's Rifle Range on grit

In all my classes, I required my students to answer warm-up questions at the beginning of class. I used two types of questions:. One was a review-type question to apply what they recently learned. The other required them to some apply their prior knowledge –or what was familiar—in a new or unfamiliar situation. Some may view this as an inquiry-based approach, or an application of the “struggle is good” philosophy that adherents of Common Core seem to say is necessary to develop perseverance in problem solving, as well as the all-important and frequently undefined “grit”. I view a short amount of struggle as appropriate provided that explanation is provided shortly after. That way, even if students do not succeed in solving a problem, most are receptive to explanations that they might otherwise tune out.

Saturday, December 20, 2014
Conversations on the Rifle Range, 19: Grant’s Tomb Again, Alice in Wonderland, and the Eternal Question
Asking students to spend a few minutes applying prior knowledge to a new problem arouses curiosity.

That's a good thing because, according to Jaak Panksepp, curiosity is one of the seven core emotions driving all human behavior. He calls it "SEEKING."*

SEEKING may be the core emotion, in fact, the emotion without which the other six don't work.

So: arousing curiosity about math!

Good idea.

Panksepp's fantastic book: Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions

And I see he published a new book in 2012!

Ordering it now -----

The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions by Jaak Panksepp and Lucy Biven

*It's probably more accurate to say that curiosity is a facet of SEEKING.


Luke Holzmann said...

Reminds me of Dan Meyer's TED talk where he talks about having a video of someone filling a tank and waiting for the student to say, "How long is this going to take?"

"That," he says, "is when you know you've baited the hook."


Barry Garelick said...

But then Dan Meyer leaves it to the students to figure it out, as opposed to whetting students' appetite for an explanation that they are ready to hear and absorb, thus saving time and frustration.

SteveH said...

"How long is this going to take" is a sign of complete boredom. This won't work for the smart kids and it falls flat for the poor ones. Some students might buy into this game because it's easy. They can see that the teacher eats it up. The teacher can't do this for all topics so the assumption is that this sort of engagement (?) has some collateral effect on the individual persistence needed to complete homework. It does not. It's like eating Mathematical Twinkies - maybe it's yummy in class, but the only lasting effect is to make the teacher warm and fuzzy and apt to blog about education as if the only thing that matters is what goes on in class.